Senior church leaders in Port Elizabeth today declared their support of a civil society mass action campaign that was launched on the steps of the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg this week to oust President Jacob Zuma following a damning Constitutional Court ruling against him last week and the failure of this week’s bid to impeach him in parliament.
The problem is bigger than Zuma — it’s about all of us
Afrika Mhlophe doubts that President Zuma will weather the mounting movement to push him out of office. But he says there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed for our country to move forward.
The leaders who attended an urgent meeting of the Nelson Mandela Bay Leadership Group (NMBLG) which represents most of the churches (mainline, Pentecostal and independent church groups) in the city, also called for the sacking of all corrupt politicians and government officials.
Bishop Lunga ka Siboto, the Presiding Bishop of the Ethiopian Episcopal Church, who called today’s urgent NMBLG meeting a week ahead of the group’s regular monthly prayer and consultation meeting, emphasised that while they are concerned about poor governance and rampant state corruption in South Africa they are not aligned in any way with any political parties.
The new, anti-Zuma mass action campaign (known as ‘The South Africa We Demand’) which the PE church leaders have endorsed includes prominent church leaders such as Rev Moss Moss Ntlha of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa and Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, as well as political and business leaders. The campaign entails mass action during April, climaxing on Freedom Day (April 27, 2016) which, Rev Ntlha says: “…we must use…to reclaim a freedom that has been stolen by Zuma and all who are like him.”
Bishop ka Siboto says the NMBLG meeting today agreed to implement a three-prong action plan to address critical governance failures and corruption, especially in Nelson Mandela Bay. With the goal of restoring SA’s reputation as a ‘rainbow nation’ they will request meetings with local, provincial and possibly national government leaders to address the corruption crisis. In a second prong campaign they will draft a questionnaire which they will ask every local church in the city to take to their members in order to engage them in a conversation about “our constitutional crisis”. And thirdly they will communicate with all local churches in order to measure the impact of corruption, especially on the poorest of the poor who are most affected when money that is supposed to address their needs is channeled elsewhere.